Off to the Autumn Races in Your Next Short-Break? These Are the New Rules


Brought to you by Harrolds.

Racing in Australia is bound by over 150 years of tradition, while the world of fashion is wild and lawless. Roshali Kaul, assistant womenswear buyer for Harrolds, tells us how to create a race day look that reflects your personal style. 

Find the right balance

Fashion-forward looks aren’t always appropriate for race day, but there are opportunities for individuality while still honouring the rules.

“It’s about finding balance,” says Kaul. “I’ve seen ladies having fun with the race day tradition of headpieces, wearing things that are more like pieces of art than hats.”

Milliners embrace their status as artists, creating exquisitely sculpted pieces from feathers, jewels and ribbons. Harrolds carries exclusive headpieces by milliners like Vivien Sheriff, Viktoria Novak and Lady of Leisure Millinery.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to be comfortable in your chosen outfit. “Have fun and stay true to your personal style,” she says.

Casual wear is not allowed

Don’t get too comfortable though. There are still expectations for dressing at a racing event.

“There are definitely still rules about what’s appropriate,” says Kaul. “As a rule, be elegant and don’t dress like you’re going to a nightclub.”

According to the Australian Turf Club, ladies in the Members’ Reserve area shouldn’t wear torn clothing, exposed midriffs, leggings, jeans or shorts. “Casual shoes are also not allowed. Why would you when you could buy an amazing new pair of heels?” she says.

Sometimes fashion trumps tradition. Kaul disagrees with the no-midriffs rule, as long as the outfit is tasteful. “I think that rule is outdated. There are some beautiful options like a cropped top with a matching full midi skirt,” she says.

Contemporary versus classic

Today, a bare midriff might make it in, but there was a time when other seemingly innocuous fashion statements were absolutely faux pas.

“The idea of women wearing masculine pieces would have ruffled a few feathers back in the day,” says Kaul. “I love the idea of wearing a beautifully cut pantsuit by Balmain with a dramatic hat from Saint Laurent.”

If menswear is left-of-centre, what’s considered classic? According to Kaul, there isn’t one look. “I don’t think anything is a race day classic anymore. We have the opportunity to make bolder choices and have fun styling our looks,” she says.

But investing in a striking bag will never go awry. “I love a bag with a long chain strap like the Saint Laurent Kate bag or the Tom Ford Natalia bag,”

In the end, balance is key. “Play around with colours, prints and textures and have fun with your outfit. There’s no better place to show yourself off!”


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